Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh announced on Monday that his Consumer Protection Division has filed charges against Cricket Wireless and AT&T for violating the Maryland Consumer Protection Act, according to a press release.
— Montgomery County Consumer Protection (@ConsumerWise) June 15, 2020
The Consumer Protection Division alleges that in the year before its merger with AT&T, Cricket failed to inform its customers that the cell phones they had purchased would not work once the merger was completed and they were switched to the new network. Frosh stated in his press release that Cricket customers’ new network used different technology to provide its cellular service.
The Attorney General also stated that many customers’ phones were “locked” to the old Cricket network, prohibiting them from operating on the new Cricket network. “Consumers were subsequently required to buy replacement phones, even if their existing phones were relatively new,” said Frosh. Cricket and AT&T reportedly continued to sell customers cell phones without “adequately” informing them that they would need to replace their phones for them to operate on AT&T’s network.
“Cricket and AT&T continued to market and sell a product to consumers they knew wouldn’t work after their merger was complete,” said Frosh. “This practice, we allege, was undertaken to maximize profit from the sale of expensive smartphones without regard for the harm it would cause consumers.”
The Consumer Protection Division is now seeking restitution, an injunction to prevent both Cricket and AT&T from “engaging in unfair or deceptive trade practices” and civil penalties and costs.
A hearing for these charges has been scheduled for September 9, 2020.